Stacking compulsive Auto-Tuned melodies upon heaving digital riddims, Alkaline set himself as the centerpiece of a new era of dancehall deejays in the mid-2010s. Born Earlan Bartley in 1993 in Kingston, Jamaica, Alkaline drew notice in the uber competitive dancehall scene with his distinctive black contact lenses and a flurry of blue-chip bashment singles in 2013 that led up to his first EP, 123, in 2014. Alkaline’s romping 2015 single “Luv Yuh Everything” set the stage for his full-length debut, 2016’s New Level Unlocked, which established his versatile singjay cadence and flair for ariose ragga refrains. Emerging from the omnipresent shadow of dancehall monarch Vybz Kartel with the rollicking singles “City,” “Atm,” and the cybernated titan “Champion Boy,” New Level Unlocked solidified Alkaline’s embellished toasting as the fulcrum of a newly refined dancehall revival. Maintaining a fertile singles release schedule throughout the latter part of the decade—including high-profile collaborations with Shaggy, Sean Paul, and A Boogie wit da Hoodie—Alkaline levied his bounteous, club-purposed bangers to establish himself as the harbinger of dancehall’s future.
BORNDecember 19, 1993